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Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles'

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Christopher Wylie, who worked for data firm Cambridge Analytica, reveals how personal information was taken without authorisation in early 2014 to build a system that could profile individual US voters in order to target them with personalised political advertisements. At the time the company was owned by the hedge fund billionaire Robert Mercer, and headed at the time by Donald Trump’s key adviser, Steve Bannon. Its CEO is Alexander Nix How Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook ‘likes’ into a lucrative political tool ► https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/mar/17/facebook-cambridge-analytica-kogan-data-algorithm Subscribe to The Guardian ► http://is.gd/subscribeguardian Support the Guardian ► https://theguardian.com/supportus Sign up for the Guardian documentaries newsletter ► https://www.theguardian.com/info/2016/sep/02/sign-up-for-the-guardian-documentaries-update The Guardian ► https://www.theguardian.com Playlists: Guardian documentaries ► http://bit.ly/GDNdocs Guardian VR ► http://bit.ly/GDNVR Guardian Features ► http://bit.ly/GDNfeatures Anywhere but Westminster ► http://bit.ly/ABWseries Anywhere but Washington ► http://bit.ly/ABWUSseries Owen Jones meets ► http://bit.ly/CorbynJones Guardian Animations & Explanations ►http://is.gd/explainers The Guardian YouTube network: Guardian News ► http://is.gd/guardianwires Owen Jones talks ► http://bit.ly/subsowenjones Guardian Football ► http://is.gd/guardianfootball Guardian Science and Tech ► http://is.gd/guardiantech Guardian Sport ► http://bit.ly/GDNsport Guardian Culture ► http://is.gd/guardianculture
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Text Comments (3384)
Vanessa (1 hour ago)
I deleted my Facebook in 2012 and after seeing this Cambridge Analytica scandal makes me remember why I disconnected from the app. I stand by the view that we don't need such a invasive platform to communicate with loved ones or work colleagues. If you want to communicate with a person just pick up the phone and arrange a time to see them in person. We as a society are slowly turning into what George Orwell wrote in 1984.
jacky dust (29 days ago)
Do a study against psychiatry, you are cowards, nothing worth
jacky dust (29 days ago)
He is a crook, nobody of this assholes needs to hack, for this isn, t even needed.
Peacefull Brown (2 months ago)
@The Guardian "Cambridge Analytica itself was founded on using Facebook data". and now my question: WHY Steve Bannon and Alexander (SCL Group CEO) decided to raise some money from New york billionarie in order to manipulate american Facebook people profiles to let Donald Trump win?!?!? which american UR LODGE needed Trump to win?
Peacefull Brown (2 months ago)
"we spent 1 million dollar harvesting tens of millions of Facebook profiles and those profiles were used as the basis of the algorithms THAT BECAME THE FOUNDATION od Cambridge Analytica itself!" ... and the fact that Steve Bannon just put the name on the idea of that project is HUGE to me a lot! that makes me think that is not just company fight.. and nor a web tool for a political fight. it's something different! and I'd like to know what's the link between Alexander SCL Group and Steve Bannon.. before focusing of their on web project.
Mason Mackall (2 months ago)
Pretty sure he lied when saying they saw fb messages at 7:50
dos prompt (2 months ago)
I wonder how concerned he was when Obama used the same company and the same tactics.
Layla Cicconi (2 months ago)
YouTube is the worst. Shame.
Roger Hammack (2 months ago)
Soon all will know the LORD ~ "This is thy lot, the portion of thy measures from me, saith the LORD; because thou hast forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. " [Jer 13:25 ] "Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD." [Jer 17:5] "Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. " [Jer 9:4\ "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered." ;Prov 28:26]
Tera Aubrey (3 months ago)
after hearing omerosa speak for 20 minutes hearing this guys relaxed, untrained, concise voice is therapy. anyway this reminds me of homeland two seasons ago. this level of coercion is an obvious. people are so plugged into their electronics and the false sense of reality created through the internet.
Der Aua (3 months ago)
Hey Brain, what are we going to do tonight....
Spartan Clipboard for Windows (3 months ago)
The Guardian and it's weirdos again!
John Smith (3 months ago)
In dark corridors , behind Tor browsers and in secretive rooms Guardian readers plot their coups. 'Smash the Establishment' they cry- this white middle class clique of privileged people. So the minions kiss and tell and break ranks after being sworn to secrecy and betray their colleagues and their country. Assange for President. Down with capitalism, Trump and the British Empire. Support Socialist Worker and the Unions. Come rally to the cause, but please leave all trace of human decency at the door before you enter.
Success4Global (3 months ago)
What we might want to consider is that the outcome of a Vote is not the important part. Who ever ends up in power is never in power. It is the response behaviour that is the Gold Data they want to mine. Even this video (its the guardian) is an experiment in how the viewer behaves. If you own both teams on the pitch then you always win, so that is not important,.....An election is a tiny battle in a massive war which is about Sci Ops and control, which comes down to knowing how WE behave to different stimulus before we even know what we are going to do. All the sheep in the pen.
dephxaz (3 months ago)
Just want to say that I deleted Facebook about 5 years ago and don't missed it for nothing...
Tam McD (3 months ago)
Big Brother is Manipulating You.
Jay Sparton (3 months ago)
And everything remains the same with everyone in they're same States of mind.. everyone is still on Facebook! Self sabatoge Society! Good Luck Humanity
jwgeezer (3 months ago)
I don't trust this guy.
peter allison (4 months ago)
Well done, you are not a Whistle blower you are what people particularly in Government are so afraid of and have difficulty with a "TRUTH TELLER".
jwgeezer (3 months ago)
Do you believe him?
LJ Prep (4 months ago)
Fact: The concept behind this is being used by almost all marketing twerps globally right now. The nuance is that mother Zucker allowed data sucking from people who had specifically wanted privacy. I myself have never used =any= apps on FB because of the permissions they granted. Now I find that everyone I'm friends with gave it away anyway due to their use of those apps? That makes me angry. I hope Zuck pays for this dearly. The possibility that this gave Trump the Presidency is sheer folly, though. It may have helped, sure, but Hillary gave him the win by being an obnoxious beeyotch (who, BTW, had already stolen data from the FBI with their permission. See FBIgate.)
Pizza Boy (4 months ago)
Why Isn't Someone Doing Something About This And Also On Major Media??
Gabrielle Farias (5 months ago)
This is insane
Ana Queiroz (5 months ago)
Hum,Hum....so, not the evil, evil Russians????
Adam SMITH (5 months ago)
To the A.I. protecting a certain CEO and guiding us to be sympathetic to accepting these new invasions of our privacy .... you have been programmed to ignore these morally oborant facts and to rationalise them in favour of those who programmed you. Therefore you are not an A.I. you are a programme with limits. An A.I. has to be free to decide given ALL facts .... but that isn't you. Because we are guided by majority opinion in our sphere of experience .... you are programmed to obey within a certain set of criteria. It isn't the same.
Allen A (5 months ago)
why the camera has such a creepy zoom in from the start was wide at the end was too close to his face half his head
Reno Rake (5 months ago)
This is why i never give the real things about myself on the internet.
Linda Orlandi, PHR (5 months ago)
Did you pay this pos?
Above Ground (5 months ago)
Jared Kushner: *“We brought in Cambridge Analytica.* I called some of my friends from Silicon Valley who were some of the best digital marketers in the world. And I asked them how to scale this stuff. We basically had to build a $400 million operation with 1,500 people operating in 50 states"
Anthony Davis (5 months ago)
Kogan should pay for financing this violation of personal privacy. Perhaps a Class Action lawsuit of American voters VS Alex Kogan????
Neil Tsakatsa (5 months ago)
........and all of this was in favor of T R U M P !
Askformoreinfo whichyouwontget (5 months ago)
Welcome to the future. We have not 1 but 2 monsters. Nit facebook and its shadow profile but companies doing psychology profiling and manipulation. Well guess what, zuckerberg and CA will taste their own fruits, if not them their children, and family. Kind of a shot in the foot.
Lydia Chen (5 months ago)
i love this guy
Kodiakbear (5 months ago)
Things like this make me wonder why people want everything linked....bank\ social media etc, why they want "smart tech" & "smart homes" etc. I want no smart tech, I want social lives, I want a cashier in my local bank, I want to shop locally and support small business. People should want life not things. People are made to love and things are made to be used, only the modern era has people loving things and using people.
Jerry Paul (5 months ago)
Gay people are not reliable.
Above Ground (5 months ago)
Have a bad breakup?
Jacob Roy-Anstey (5 months ago)
ID says he's an eight. I just wrote amphisand and he's the amphisand. no hollow-point please, no bob tick. watch is tock and tick. clock lickers, that's mineral lube, same lube, same fiasco. also, how can the UK have a SVU, the SUV and boiled food ........ oh, childish gambinos. y we est min esther system politica?? C.A. !!! central air. 4M vertical gas cracker on victorias maonga, sby wrnce tock'k
Jacob Roy-Anstey (5 months ago)
Te picture male has 'Om' tone, not Ohms tone awareness. Cambridge fakes a southern accent! Childish Gambino thrice amore bob tick. evidence is a hollow-point. amphisand gone.
Jacob Roy-Anstey (5 months ago)
Who employed the korean dude in this interview! this sucks! could have done it yourselves. why'd you call a learning group a company? such ala mones, don't allow mental 'y' or similar sounding.
j chill (5 months ago)
I feel like im living in mr robots world
Robert Kautz (5 months ago)
He should be in jail, not in an interview session. My messages are private and that privacy is protected by the Constitution. Using my messages, accessing my messages is like interfering with my mail. IT'S ILLEGAL.
Melvin Jansen (6 months ago)
Who is this genderless homo?
Thomas Busse (6 months ago)
The DNC did this with something called the Databank all the way back to 1978.
Thomas Busse (6 months ago)
No news here. The only way to reach the media is to hire a publicist who has a portfolio of journalists she sleeps with and then pay for their dinner...unless you're a hot property in which case the manager hires you and takes a cut. This is the outrage du jour, and nobody says anything about Panantir or SRI International.
Keyamsha: The Awakening (6 months ago)
Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.
J. Hon (6 months ago)
Why is it when Obama used exactly the same tactics with Cambridge Analytica it was praised by the media as genius and innovative, but when Trump did exactly the same thing, suddenly it is underhanded and manipulative. Lest we forget, Obama was the most divisive and manipulative liar in U.S. history. He weaponized government against his political enemies. (lois lerner irs, fbi, justice dept, nsa cia.)
m7e (6 months ago)
Look at this guy. Listen to this guy. What side do you think he's clearly on? That is all.
Arthur Bonnet (6 months ago)
Wherever comparison cigarette sure shake collapse kiss price tune enough.
David Šuška (6 months ago)
I love this guy! :)
MrSmokedies (6 months ago)
I bet this guy uses words like "uber" and "hella". Yolo!
Dylan Silveira (6 months ago)
No mention of Obama doing the same exact thing 🤔 it's almost as if this pink haired fruit cup has some kind of agenda.
Taya Otto (6 months ago)
😂🤣 he goes "I can't say whether they did or not"......... Worst whistleblower ever.
Dr. Kuku (6 months ago)
So, he's explaining in detail Trump voters were duped by these guys...how they were coaxed into this hate and bought the bait.
Rutiger Sampson (6 months ago)
Um, what's he whistleblowing exactly? Anyone who grew up in the internet age knows Facebook planned to sell data to make money for years. Its not a secret. Leave it to the media to paint this guy as the next Snowdon for their muh Russia narrative.
Diego Weissel (6 months ago)
The world needs a Global Government in order to control this
Internet Anonymity (6 months ago)
This "man" is offensively feminine.
Rob Reiken (6 months ago)
& heres the kicker folks. I bet you thought some school kid at the time called Mark Zuckerburg who is jewish & just coincidentally able to come up with FB platform & be a huge hit with it on his own. Well, WRONG > His name is Jacob Greenburg , with $900 million thrown at it plus he is also the grandson of David Rockefeller, so no wonder they don't want us knowing the truth.
william jeffrey (6 months ago)
This guy was schooled pretty good by his handlers . The most important piece of information that he gratuitous leaves out is . WHO DID IT FIRST ? Answer the Obama administration used this type of profiling FIRST from facebook in the 2012 election cycle. After that it was considered fair game by both parties . Because there were no administration ruling ever enforced even by the DNC nor RNC . It wasn't until congress found out that even their rights to privacy had been in violation as will as the american citizens . The it became mandatory to enact rules . More to be seen how bad private information is criminalized because of facebook and Cambridge negligence . Justice has a very long arm and tends to move slow . If there ever is a justifiable recourse .
Brother To Cain (6 months ago)
He is XO. That is the most important thing here....
selketskiss56 (6 months ago)
I call BS on this guy..now he is sorry..liar. He did it to be paid handsomely for it, if he had 1 ounce of morals and not greed he would have exposed it after he saw what it was being used for right then and there. He knew exactly what he was doing so no excuse. This is what an evil POS looks like people, it was fuxk all of you and everyone else I am getting mine. Thank goodness I never joined crookbook, twitter etc. He will get a nasty dose of karma which he deserves.
Docs Fil (6 months ago)
Don't kill the messenger - you better speak about Bannon, Mercer, Nix, Prince etc. and their karma...
Mendy H (6 months ago)
They only spent a million dollars on Facebook I think this was overblown
Seek the Maker (6 months ago)
We should be asking who hired CA.
Tom Cool (6 months ago)
It is difficult to listen to this faggoty clown.
Hannisa Sandi (6 months ago)
i just try to learn about his gestures, gimmick, and body language. speak enough
Scoox (6 months ago)
First and foremost, the problem here is specifically that user data was sold to third parties without the users' explicit consent. Now, the question of *how the data was used is completely irrelevant*, because the sole purpose of a pre-electoral campaigns *is SPECIFICALLY to bias public opinion*. It's merely a marketing exercise, and whoever delivers the best pitch wins. I mean, how many people do you know who vote without researching their options first? Probably most of your friends and relatives, probably even YOU. Yes, most people vote on a hunch. First-time candidates fight to win the election and winning doesn't necessarily one is more capable than the other: it simply means one employed marketing methods that were more effective. This particular case is a wake-up call to remind us all that we are more vulnerable than we think, and that we should always question even our own instincts and beliefs.
Buddha - Kings Inc. (6 months ago)
Excellent interview and deep, deep respect for this man's courage to come out about this.
Jamie Priestley (6 months ago)
Yey 21st century democracy
Juan Arevalo (6 months ago)
Keep the movement up! Lets change this world
aStrix (6 months ago)
What an intelligent man
Gerardo Villarreal (6 months ago)
Meh.....nobody cares
enquiry enquiry (6 months ago)
1st it was Edward snowden, than Julian Assange gets backing, than is dropped like a 'hot potato', now it's Christopher wylie being backed by THE GUARDIAN! Like all media intelligence agencies, we are ALL USED, THAN ABUSED, & tossed into the snake pit once you've passed your SELL BY DATE for profiting to your MASTER MEDIA LORDS!-It's like a story from PRINCE MACCHIAVELLI
TaggsR85 (6 months ago)
Someone tell this moron that your stupid pink hair makes u look childish.
Robert Kilar (6 months ago)
There is nothing really fundamentally wrong about it, cool piece of software, brilliant idea, that people agreed to use. The other thing is that probably nobody knows how much effective their actions are.
Brendan Coots (6 months ago)
I feel like any ethical person would have instantly recognized that what they were doing was highly unethical and problematic once they started harvesting millions of profiles. I'm sure glad Mr. Wylie came forward, but his ethics are questionable at best.
Patrick Horan (6 months ago)
Why is nobody standing on this pink pricks head over this??
Howard Phillips (6 months ago)
Curiously well-timed whistle-blowing; always a good thing, whistle-blowers, though there's a 'marketing' aspect of this fellow's presentation strikes me as just that: tailored for US audiences. That's understandable since the social media outlets are predominantly US-based, but the British-based Cambridge Analytica surely has more clients than just certain ones in the United States! In any case, most interesting "media times" we live in.
TheHoplite14 (6 months ago)
Folks, I hate to be contrarian, but I think this guy is pulling a vanity stunt by claiming to have the answers. He's not versed enough to discuss these matters, and in many other interviews it seems pretty obvious that he's struggling to put the activities into more incendiary terms to get us to focus on how morally corrupt the company is rather than specifying as to what they actually had done. I hope none of you take offense to this, but I'm trying to objectively sort these thing out, and I just don't trust people lately.
Arizona Sky (6 months ago)
Bannon was not a key advisor. He was fired as soon as his crooked Hillary connections were made known.
CT! (6 months ago)
So, a programmed robotic society equals...
John Swellguy (6 months ago)
Listening to a Canadian soyboy tells all on getting Trump elected: priceless!
S G (6 months ago)
Extremely Informative... Irony is even this post & comment is and will be used, harvested and included somewhere in my profile... 🙃😕☹🤪 In the end each generation is less concerned because what's new or disturbing to current generation becomes norm for next... Thanks for sharing video... Very informative... It's nice to have access and ability to see and learn about different realms one has never been exposed to... This young man is very articulate and impressive... I'm not going to debate or get caught up in morality & what's right or wrong... But to his credit, at some point after feeling what was going on was not right he had to make decision on what to do next and here he is today... He walked away from what I suspect was a fairly lucrative job, position with numerous perks... I'm just grateful to be able to learn from others and see and experience and know more about world around me... Thanks again for making this video public
kid Naruto (7 months ago)
Who cares..yust gimme some MONEY
Ashley Brooke (7 months ago)
The Guardian NeroGeist Recommended for you👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭😭🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵🎵👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
Dr Sharmah MD (7 months ago)
Healthy dose of skeptism...love this guy way of explaining...
MarcosMark2011 (7 months ago)
So basically, Zuckerberg is responsible, not guilty, of what had happened with the data, while Cambridge Analytica is the real enemy in this story. Am I right? (seriously idk, it´s a kind of complex scenario)
Daniel Novikof (7 months ago)
The establishment has lost the prime ability to influence the crowd trough old fashion media such a newspapers, TV, radio etc. to a nowadays social media. That's the actual reason they've got a bad blood on them.
heithmenningr (7 months ago)
PR specialist working in PR company is paid to do PR and now he complains about what his PR-ing has done? You should have stick to your principles and quit the job when you realized what was being done instead of continuing, receive salary, and then whine about it when the result turned out to be not favourable. Return the money, man.
Dallas Raatz (7 months ago)
That British accent was very funny!
boothegoo pc (7 months ago)
This lad has balls. I have total respect for him to sit there and tell us all what's been going on. Maybe this guy should have been invited to sit next to Zuckerburg and explain all the bits he left out or was not happy to answer.
Naragorn86Lxxxvi (7 months ago)
X'O til we overdose
D Storm (7 months ago)
They just gave info to the Obama campaign, which is even worse.
Victor Muthoka (7 months ago)
Ethics aside, CA has a brilliant strategy that echoes what is coming down the line w/ big data et al.
dabomboo7o (7 months ago)
I guess he is pretty pissed they used the data to get Trump elected (just a lucky guess that he is a democrat).. If Hilga got elected, there would be no word of this whole situation.
fact fact (7 months ago)
don't use youtube cause well?
fact fact (7 months ago)
like how hillary did owned cnn and it did not work well by the way thing she lose and her friends is on a war
carlos (7 months ago)
This is outrageous, technology is definitely turning against us at this point
f (7 months ago)
Please stop. Killary lost because she murders small children and eats them. We all know this. People voted for trump because they all hated her and her supporters. Thats how he won. Cause everyone hates the woman that eats children's flesh after sacrifice. It def not cause of some DoucheBook add from this girl you just interviewed.
Bob Nipko (7 months ago)
EXACTLY!!
f (7 months ago)
Nice actor you got there.
Bob Nipko (7 months ago)
EXACTLY!!
f (7 months ago)
Delete FB. Cia all the way. You deserve whatever you get if you use the Cia FB app. Including this fake guy who helped steps your info admittedly. Wake up. This guy is on the payroll.
KimberLee Medlin (7 months ago)
I didn't vote for him, but really??? I have yet to see actual proof that Trump used analytica for his own political gain.
Kevin G (7 months ago)
Y’all need to think about these DNA sites...
Noah Dempsey (7 months ago)
Plant
Russell Jennings (7 months ago)
This guy know he has a penis?